My partner has high-grade serous ovarian cancer

Hello, everyone.

I'm currently doing my PhD in literature and philosophy, in the UK. My partner was diagnosed with high-grade serous ovarian cancer (stage 1c1) on 15 Mar 2022 after her biopsy in China. She's just 35, a brilliant dancer.

On 21 Mar she had the surgery which removed her uterus, both ovaries and fallopian tubes (as well as pelvic lymph node, aorta lymph node, greater omentum, appendix, abdominal wall lesions, celiac lesions, liver lesions). On 28 Mar she had her first chemo with Paclitaxel (6 cycles of standard Paclitaxel-Carboplatin). Last week she just had her 4th chemo session (7 Jun).

During the treatment she sometimes got lymphedema in her leg. She has no appetite most of time and keeps losing weight. The last ultrasound she had on 27 May shows pelvic masses, hydronephrosis, cavernous haemangioma and multiple cysts in the liver, and gallbladder polyps. Her oncologist hasn’t talked with her about what these test results mean and how’s her chemo going exactly yet.

Actually, I think her treatment experience has been very frustrating so far, to say the least. I don’t know much about that in the UK, but in China, the asymmetry of information and power between doctors and patients is huge. Usually the doctors have the absolute authority and are too busy to talk to patients. Hospitals in big cities are battlefields due to the misdistribution of medical resources, and you need infinite patience to wait for the every step to proceed. I really don’t want to complain too much, but the current covid situation in China has definitely hampered her basic treatment and well-being.

The worst of all, is that during the whole time, she has no family, relatives and friends staying with her, and I couldn’t go back to my home country. Both of her parents deceased years ago and covid almost cuts off everyone’s mobility. She has to hire someone (not professional) to cook and do basic cleaning for her. Her nutrition and mental health have always been my biggest concern.

I talk to her everyday through video chat. She’s super strong and optimistic. However, looking at her wasting away each day helplessly, dealing with bureaucracy and absurd restrictions thousands of miles away, isolated in a place I sometimes feel lost all my perspective and connection, to be honest, I become deeply depressed for the last few months. I’m afraid that I’m not as strong as her. I’m afraid that going about my life and doing things become so overwhelming, and sometimes, a torture indeed.

Luckily I finally got an air ticket to China at the beginning of July. Of course it made me almost bankrupt. But the only thing I wish now is that my air line won’t be suspended, I won’t be tested positive, the quarantine won’t be prolonged, and I will be able to get back to her as soon as possible. Oh sorry, that’s more than one thing.

  • Hi

    So sorry to hear about your partner and the issues with being so far away. Much of the advice we would normally give here is quite UK specific though we do have a special group Living with cancer outside the UK - Discussion Forum which might be useful to look at.

    Hopefully your university has a student support service and you are in contract with them. It might also help to look at Your feelings when someone has cancer as sometimes it can be helpful just to notice how we are feeling and that can help us not be overwhelmed. 



    Community Champion Badge

  • Thank you for this Steve. I was directed here by another community member from Ovarian Cancer Forum. I think you both spoke with a lot of sense, and kindness, but probably it's just not the right place for me to seek help. I don't know, there seems to be no right place for me since...a while ago. I thought I tried, but this sense of always being wrong just doesn't go away. I hope I can remove my posts, but I don't know how. Could you please help me with that? Thanks again!

  • Hi ,

    I can empathise with the sense of being wrong - but perhaps our biggest problem often is we do not reach out for help when we really need it. Sometimes of course, even often, we do not at first touch the point that will give us the "best" help and often our first contract may be to direct us to another source that might work "best" for us at least in the short term.

    I am not sure if it is possible to remove posts here but I could ask one of the community team - however I would ask you to consider if we might be allowed to keep your words because you will not be unique in the position you are in and just perhaps those words you have written from your heart might help someone else fell less alone in the world.

    We do of course recognize our community is not the answer for everyone and perhaps some other form of support might be a better match for you at the moment. If you are near enough to one of their centres I would highly recommend the services of Maggies the Oxford centre is fantastic.



    Community Champion Badge